Asset by Chris Lowry

Asset by Chris Lowry
Publisher: Grand Ozarks Media
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Action/Adventure
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

It ain’t easy being a spy.

It sounded fun at first. Just listen. Pay attention. Make note of who comes to the house. Who stops by.

And a poor boy from the wrong side of the tracks gets a chance to travel the world with the girl he loves.

But her do-gooder ways can get them in trouble.

When she volunteers them to help at a refugee camp in South Africa, they’re protected by her father’s reputation.

Until rebels show up and all hell breaks loose.

Now his adventure in a new world takes a deadly turn and drives him into a nightmare. He can give in and give up or dig deep and fight to become the man he always wanted to be.

It’s not a simple choice and the only easy day was yesterday. But Brill Winger will have to learn to fight if he wants to survive, and wreak havoc on the men who shattered his world, and tried to shatter him.

Grab your copy of book 1 in the action packed series about the boy who became the world’s luckiest hitman.

Brill was a poor young man who had grown up on the wrong side of town in desperate circumstances. Everything changes when he is offered a unique opportunity, just listen and pay attention to what goes on around him, then report back to his shadowy benefactors. In return he gets to stay with the young South African woman he loves and be a part of her life. Only Brill and his love are both thrown into a nightmare situation and Brill has to decide whether he will fight and take his vengeance, or whether he will give up everything he is.

I picked up this book on a whim and mostly I’m happy with the purchase. This story definitely won’t be every reader’s cup of tea. I found the writing style quite bare and very different to most of the books I read. I feel the author takes the “lean” or “gritty” style of writing to an extreme. There is very little extra description or world building in this story and I feel some readers won’t enjoy the bareness of the narrative very much at all.

The pace of this story was quite fast and I feel readers who enjoy action/adventure style fast-paced novels should really enjoy this. The plot was simple but effective – not very unique but I thought it was well handled. I personally found we received enough details about Brill and Laurette to give me a good mental picture of their characters and who they were, but I wouldn’t blame other readers who felt there needed to be at least a little more description to help make the story more fulfilling to read.

Fairly early on in the story Brill and Laurette are kidnapped with a bunch of other people by some rebels while they were volunteering in one of the refugee camps in Laurette’s home country and South Africa. After this, the story becomes far more focused on Brill and his personal growth, though the pace remains quite fast in this as well. Readers looking for a light hearted or easy read won’t find that here. There is one very full-on rape scene around this time in the story too. I feel readers should be aware this rape scene is fairly graphic – though still in the books style of bare and gritty. I definitely didn’t find it written in a titillating or glorified manner, but also the author was in no way vague with the scene, it definitely wasn’t glossed over. I really feel it won’t suit all readers and could certainly be a trigger to some, though I personally was able to read it (and I frequently skim or properly skip more graphically violent scenes – in this sense the bareness of the author’s writing style was definitely a blessing).

While Brill is caught in this nightmare situation it’s truly the making of his character. Although part of me feels there is a little too much coincidence in the unfolding of the further scenes – they were realistic and logical enough I could accept them and I found it deeply engrossing to watch Brill turn from a young man in love into what is the beginnings of a hardened warrior and a deeply rooted sense of Brill’s personal mission and the skills he would learn to grow into a man determined to carry out this journey he was beginning.

While there are a few rough corners in this story that I hope are a bit smoother in the next few books, I admit I’m hooked enough on the plotline and general premise I expect to purchase and read the second in this series. I feel there was a good enough writing style, interesting enough characters and a solid plot to this story and I admit I’m interested in knowing what happens next, so I’ll be getting the next book and giving it another try.

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